Thursday, January 29, 2009

Deadline

Ok, so i'm lazy! Extremely so - i have not done a bit of work till today and i only sat down for barely an hour - not even writing but editing!!

So Heres my list and deadline for this weekend and next week

  • Edit Prologue (finally) and resend finalised first draft version to betas
  • Chapter - first scene is okish - not great - needs work
- Second scene - disaster - must figure out how to do a 'traumatic scene'

- Third scene - dialogue & intro of Azael - needs, well starting

- fourth scene - ditto.

I planned on getting chapter two at least started, but i am so slow at writing and lazy that i definitly wont get it done by 9th feb.

Finding it very hard to make myself sit down and type.

This should be easier right?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Best of Blog: PlatForm Building

So here is my first Best of Blog post. Basically, as i have hopped from blog to blog, i have come across some great gems of info on certain issues, so i've decided to share!

Today the topic is Platform Building.

Now the reason i set up this blog was due to an article i read called Moon-rats Guide to Being Published. Most of the points sounded all too familiar to my aspiring author's ears but one thing that struck me was the concept of Platform Building.

What is Platform Building?

Platform Building
is creating a 'brand' or image of yourself that you can sell to the literary agents and publishers. Part of this is both building up legitimate credentials (your moms opinion does not count) by previous publications and building up a base or network of fans.

Basically, platform building is not rocket science, as Christina Katz says its merely

" ... the ways you're visible and appealing to your potential, future or actual readership. To build a platform, an author must create and maintain a Web presence without sacrificing too much regular writing time or paying a fortune in fees. Platform development is not only important to existing authors, it's also crucial for wannabe authors or soon-to-be authors."

Why Do I Need a Platform? I'm amazing as is, right?

In my mind i thought this was unnecessary - Talent shines through, but as it has been pointed out numerous times on various blogs, sometimes the ok author with a good fanbase wins over the great author with none.

Its the world we live in as Moon Rat says "This is the Walmartization of the book industry".

What does this mean?

Basically you have to Brand and Market yourself and what your selling (your writing). Exactly like the Branding of products in your local supermarket - its all about differentiating a product on the shelf from everything else. Its all about the packaging, the product and the volume.

Ok so its fine when your talking about branding some inanimate object like a tin of beans and not some one's 'masterpiece' or 'talent' - well 'Brand Management' is alive and well in the business industry and it seems to be leaking into the publishing world. A perfect example of a Branding Phenomenon is Twilight

As a marketing blog says

"How did a then 32 year-old stay-at-home-mother named Stephanie Meyer, with no prior novels published, take a dream she had about a romance between a vampire and a teenage girl and turn it into every author's dream - more than 25 million books sold and a knockout Hollywood adaptation?

The Internet had a lot to do with it."

"So she created a personal website, StephenieMeyer.com, that was far more personal and intimate than the website Little, Brown developed. She posted blogs and was eager to engage personally with those who would comment. Not content to relegate the 'conversation' to StephenieMeyer.com, she went to other websites and interacted with individuals on their online turf."


Whatever your opinion of Twilight, you can't deny its success and that it is a viable product which was pitched perfectly to its intended audience and used proper 'branding' methods to launch a platform for itself. An Apple with two pale hands will always be seen as 'Twilight' related from now on, with even a CS Lewis book with a similar cover causing fan outrage.

Its like the Obama brandomania craze that's everywhere now. Branding Sells. Ask CoCa Cola.

Is it any wonder that l.Agents and Publishers want an established fanbase 'prior' to publication if Twilight is the result of 'post-publication' platforming. Granted, it took two years and the third book in the series for Stephenie Meyer to even dent the bestseller list, but that was primarily due to her 'word of mouth' fanbase exploding.

With scary stats like these, branding/platform building is becoming as essential as editing to the writing world.

How Do I Build A Platform?

Basically there are two main steps to building a platform.

1. Credentials -

NonFiction: Expertise, Credentials etc.

Fiction: Readership, Awards, Previous Publications (Short stories etc. in magazines etc)

2. Networking -

Website, Magazines, Journals, Competitions, E-Zines, Blogs, paper columns, etc.

as the BookEnd Lit. Agency state "a platform goes beyond just who the author is. The book itself also has to have a platform."

The essentials of good writing obvious need to be there, but you also need to establish yourself with a readership (especially if its non fiction, where expertise and regular readership is essential). For example in the post dawn era of the DaVinci code and other similar books Nathan Bransford posted a blog entry about 'what is a platform?' and talked about the influx of terrorism themed books.

"But here's the problem: no one who is writing me is an expert on terrorism."

Nathan further makes the great point that

"Let's say you are thinking about writing a book of nonfiction. The first thing you need to do is assume that every single person in the entire world wants to write a book (which isn't really an assumption, it's basically true). The second thing you need to do is ask yourself if you are the most qualified person in the entire world to write that book. "

So this is nonfiction - credentials, expertise and knowledge are very very important.

Fiction is the same - you need credentials to help but being KNOWN helps more.

Just Look at the Celebrity bestsellers. Cha-Ching.

"Publishers are even starting to look more and more at platform in fiction. A lot of debut novelists already have a web-based following or are fixtures in their local writing scenes. Or they are a celebrity or have a good back story. You can see publishers' obsession with platform reflected in the JT Leroy scandal. Great writing is not always enough, and, recognizing this, a struggling writer created an entire fictional author with a tragic (completely made up) life history just to get ahead. It actually worked until, you know, the supposedly HIV+ transgender former teenage prostitute author was discovered to be a 42 year old woman"

So apart from creating a false identiy - here is my list of tips for 'lazy' platform building (fiction)

  1. Network - Join communities of writers either in 'real life' or online, either through community forums like the writers draft or critique groups etc. Join associations affiliated with your genre as well.The world of publishing is very very small.
  2. Web 2.0 - Online community forums, web rings, websites, blogs, e-zines etc. get the word out that you exist!
  3. Credentials - this is the BIG one. L.Agents like to see credentials such as previous publications in known/independent (basically not your own ezine mag) magazines or placements or awards in competitions!
For More tips (that involve being less lazy) have a look at this pdf file.

Ten Top Tips for Platform Building

What Now?

Go Platform Build !!
You can never start too early! (and *cough*network *cough* link me!)

I hope that people found this article interesting and that you click the links, cause there is a great source of information out there from people in the know and in the industry.

Thanks for Reading (if you got this far down the post)

Sources (in no particular order)

Put your pens down - Your Time is Up!

Never have i been happier to hear those words. it is now 3.49am Sunday Morning. I have finished my exams and have had a great night out!







YAY!!!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

My Perspective on My Publishing Prospects

Ok, so I've been mulling over this topic for a while.

Now, it may surprise a few people here but i generally am a cautious optimist/dreamer (i never blog about good stuff - who ever does!?!?!) in every day life. However when it comes to my writing i want to have a very different sort of attitude - call it survival instinct or protectionism, or whatever but i have learned that when it comes to writing optimist dreamers are crushed like itty bitty flies on the pavement of life (you can quote me on that)

So, I've decided that a healthy dose of 'reality check' is needed. This post is not meant to depress or anything of the sort. I'm just being honest with myself.


I'll write my WIP within two years, it will be wonderful and all the agents will want it and it won't have an rejections or maybe a few (cause i want to have some challenges to write about in my bestselling autobiography) - then SUCCESS - an amazing literary agent will sign my book, a big publisher will sign it within a few weeks of being shopped around! Aw thats when Hollywood suddenly starts calling and i get to choose the cast. . well the male cast anyway. . . . . .




Then



My God damn alarm wakes me up.


aw well.

Back to reality! You can see where the dream leads - FANTASY LAND.

It is so easy for a writer to get sucked into the fantasy, cause our great imaginations actually have a sick sort of humour and like to secretly torture us with stuff that will NEVER happen.

So i believe i have about the same chances of being published as winning the lotto.

Here is my reasoning:

  1. You Have To Write the Story - Only 3 % of writers that start out writing a novel actually finish it!!
  2. You have to query it - Literary agents reject (give or take 99.5%) of all manuscripts that they receive.
  3. It has to get passed by an editor - who are few in numbers and short in patience (due to being overworked)
  4. Getting it published - from negotiations to deals to this and that, its surprising we even have the number of books published!
  5. Then only a very small amount actually make a decent (livable) profit while the rest are dropped by the publisher for being flops.
So, basically you start as 3% of those who actually finished a novel. Of those 3% - 99.5% are rejected by Literary Agent. I have no percentages of how much on average a L.Agent sells to a publisher but i'm guessing its very very small.

So less than .5% of a chance of being published? its probably 0.05%?

Oh maybe i do have a better chance of getting published than winning the lotto after all?


Oh i am an optimistic indeed aren't i?

So what does this mean for me? I think that with writing people are under the impression that it is different from any other career. If you want to be at the top you have to work hard - 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration.

The fact is when i've written my WIP, edited the life out of it, poured my heart, soul and other organs into it - it will still more than likely FAIL but my hope is that it fails well! It is all a learning experience and thats how i'm going to approach it - with expectations of failure and hopes of failing well!!

Yes, we can . . . . Fail Well

Wahoooooo

Now ignore me as i go off to watch the boxset of the westwing. The last season specifically; All about an inspirational and dignified man of minority becoming president of united states (sound familiar?)

Now, if i had those writers' psychic powers - i wouldn't need the lotto!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

FAIL with a Captial F***

If i was a Security Camera, this would be me right now!!



Ok, short note cause i have more stuff to study for my exam tomorrow. eek.

Why would the council not put salt on a road which was wet the night of -3 temperatures?? The road was like glass = traffic jams = i missed the train. I had to be driven to the next town over that had a train station!! Eventually got to university on time. . . .

in summary, i failed that exam which means i'm completely fucked for getting an honours masters. I have NEVER FAILED an exam in my life. I'm so upset and angry that i may even resort to using a smillie. . . . . . . .

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The New Interactive Sections

Ok so following on to from the previous post - i want to elaborate on the two new sections of this blog:

1. This Week in Publishing Blog News

Basically this is when i go a blog hopping (as i always do) and basically go through a weeks worth of blog news from the sources of agents/editors etc. that i have and compile it together in a blog post with links to their sites. Information like Nathan Bransford's blog explosion about writing your own query letter etc. or his info on publishing news etc.

As soon as my exams are finished i'm going to link to all editor/pub blogs i can find.

2. The Best of Blog Posts per subject

Similar to the snark archives - i will be looking at a specific subject e.g. platform building and go hunting around the blogs for valuable information.

Maybe at the end of the year/month (if theres enough interest lol) i'll set up an award thing . . . hahahaha. . .

Come on the 24th!

The 24th is the last day of my exams. Yes, I am looking forward to this date. . . .

Ugh. I am screwed. Getting back on topic (surprisingly this is not a whingey post)

The reason for this post (apart from wasting time) is to sort of outline a few ideas for this blog.

So, when i have my two weeks off - i want to do a few things which i plan to keep up.

  1. Good Idea/Bad Idea - Hiring Professional Editor and maybe one on getting someone else to write your query letter (v topical at the moment)
  2. editorial piece (hahaha - you can laugh) about my view of publication and chances and also
  3. The Week in Publishing Blog Posts (basically what i steal from pubprof blogs)
  4. Book Reviews - been planning this one for a while, haven't had opportunity to get to enjoy books in a while. i have a few i want to retroactively review like book thief etc.
  5. Best of Blog posts per subjects - example list of blog posts about 'platform building' - like a little index of resources per subject.
Ugh i wish i was one of those people who could make money off blogging and not had to go study for exams.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Signing off. . . . . . . . .

Boys and Girls I am in some serious shit

i'm am totally and utterly screwed for my exams. I've been up since 7am and its 9.15 and i'm getting nooooowhere. Ugh. and i've less than ten days till my exmas

*deep Breath*

So, this is me signing off till my exams. I'm making myself STOP distracting myself.

Must Concentrate!

Ugh

So anyone from WD reading this - if i'm not very chatty or around for next week or so, you know why!!

ciao for now

Emily!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

More PhotoBucket!!

Oh This is so BAD - for my grades

Here is more photobucketness. . . . i may have to find a free version cause paint is driving me NUTS

Here are a few more covers, avies and banners

AVIES

Version 1


Version 2




Banners (both quoting a version of the first line of the novel)

Banner 1



Banner 2



More Book Covers

Version 1



Version 2



Well thats it for now - trust me there will be more. . . . . .

Ugh i think i have a new obsession. . . . . . thats all i need is another one!!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Cover (and title) story!

Damn you photobucket and your temptress ways!!!!! *shakes fist* . . . *meek whisper* i love you

So, I have discovered the edit features on photobucket - this is bad. Not for my NoName Novel but for my course work, which is being ignored while i play with these fabulous edit features - bleamishes and natural colour begone!!! (re: my profile pic)

Back on topic apart from my lovely profile picture, i have been wandering aimlessly around WD looking at all the different topics. . .

One of which has haunted me, pestering my little writer consciousness -

the infamous TITLE THREAD

See i have commitment issues with my NoName Novel (i love that name *sniff*) and this is the equivalent of a BIG FAT engagement ring of commitment. . .

So its 2009, and i have decided i shall commit to this NoName Novel and finally give it a 'Working Title' - The Sight of Darkness

( i know, i know - very emo!! its called a working title for a reason - Ha, but wait till you see the covers now THEY are emo!!!)

So of course once that was done (thank you Pianist 18 for the help) - emily took a little trip to google image looking for blindfold pictures - i won't go into the amount of 'unusable' pictures i found - especially when i typed in 'gothic' with it. The internet is very. . . . educational!?!?!

*cough*

I finally found a decent (emo) image which was beautiful, i edited it slightly snipping out the models of the hand and some photographer info (hehe disclaimer - i did not take this picture)

So here are some samples, give me some opinions on what you think/like? the font? the image? the colour scheme as a whole? the colour of the font? etc.

So here they are:

Cover 1 Cover 2



Cover 3 Cover 4





Cover 5 Cover 6






Ok My opinion

Least Fav: Cover 5 - this was just a mess

Favourite: Combo of the Format of cover 2 and the font/colour of 6

Cover 4 & 5 are cool but aren't dark enough in colour (i like black and no i'm neither emo nor goth)


So Heres My favourite:




So What Do You Think? Which is Your Favourite?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Posting for the sake of it - Marley Style


Yes i am posting just for the sake of it!! I have so much work to do, i needed a break from all the worrying - so here i am!!

Took a tea break and all and was sitting watching Euronews 'Le Mag' which is the entertainment news and i saw that their making 'Marley and Me' into a movie!

I love this book so i'm really excited that Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson are in it.

Hopefully they'll do the book justice.

Marley and Me is definitely one of those books which make you laugh and cry in equal amounts. its not just for dog lovers (though it helps) cause there is great scope of the relationships that occur around Marley and his impact. Basically its an autobography of John Grogan through his interaction with Marley. Reminds me of one of those family movies, you sit down and watch and then find you can't stop watching cause although there is nothing 'exciting' it is engaging and touching.

Apart fromt the touching and the engaging elements, this book is such a treat to read if you do love dogs or ever had one. Even some of the stories remind me of my old dog, and some my current pooch (neither are/were labs) - all dog owners can relate to this book on some level! well those of us anyway that don't have lassie as a pet

Goddamn it i knew i should have wrote about my dogs' antics and maybe i would have sold over 2 million copies!!


hahaha


Off topic: Have to say - not into celebritys or anything like that but Owen and Jennifer make a very cute couple.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Grumble Grumble *cough* *cough*

You see the title of this post.........

Be forewarned cause i am about to whinge alot



(i know if i put half as much effort into writing as whinging i'd have a first draft written....)

I'm sick and coughy and sore and i've 6 assignments ( 5 being completely redundent and stupid) due in for friday....

I don't have one word typed. I DID however spend the entire weekend watching season 4 of House ( a series i stopped watching after season one - yet for some reason it was essential i sit down and watch it. . . )

Damn you Hugh laurie and Damn Black adder Xmas specials for reminding me the man exists!!

So i'm essentialy screwed, i probably could get an extension BUT thats a bad thing to give a procrastinator especially with exams fast approaching.....ugh.......

Bring on NaNoWriFortnight (27th Jan - 8th Feb)

whingey whingeeeeeeee... and a dash of whine......


So. . . . . . . . .

Apart from lack of work in regards to assignments i have not done much with the NoName either. Or any 'serious' non whingey stuff with this blog for that matter.

So heres a heads up for my next Good/Bad Idea segment (i know you can't wait)

Getting a professional Editor for the prepublished Manu - Good Idea or Bad Idea?

Meeh,

*cough*

*sniff*

Yuck.

Friday, January 2, 2009

The Writing Plan!

Oooooohhhhh i hear you all gush with excitement. . . *cough* or so i happily and delusionally imagine is occuring as you read this post.

Upon writing the below whingathon post about the soul sucking course (aw catharsis), i decided to write a little about the main NY resolution (which i really want to keep - well apart from the weight loss one, we all want that resolution to come true) which is

[complete first draft of NoName Novel by 31st Dec 2009.]

Action Plan:

Due to the fact i'm currently in an intense academic fulltime Masters programme, writing time and imagination (daydreaming etc.) time is limited. so, upon the suggestion of MoonFlicker on WD i have decided to put by an hour of writing time per day with no reference to word count. For some odd reason this never occured to me, i think due to the fact i was focused on word count all the time. e.g. 500 words could take me four hours so thats not feasible every night.

So i shall measure by time not word count (and dont freak myself out in the process)

WeekDay (term time) Schedule:

Mon - Thurs : 1 hour of writing per day
Friday: 2 hours per writing ( i have this day off) - negotiable due to workload
Sat & Sun: 1-3 hours per writing per day (will change due to workload)

With this in mind i want to set up some 'loose' deadline dates for getting certain things done.

Month (end of)

January: Prologue (edited re:betas)
Chapter 1 rough draft
Chapter 1 Edited and Send to Betas

Febraury: Chapter 1 (edited re: betas
Chapter 2 rough draft
Chapter 2 edited and sent to betas.

March: Chapter 2 (edited re: Betas)
Chapter 3 Rough Draft
Chapter 3 edited and sent to betas.

Now i'm only doing it up to March cause i know myself things change - it is my hope that the above can be maintained and will continue during my course and up to May.

my exams occur in may but i still have my thesis to write till July. However i'm hoping that i can increase my writing time to maybe 2-3 hours per day during this time and increase it again in between finishing this course and getting a full time job thus hopefully writing more than a chapter per month.

I'm hoping to write a 100,000 (roughly) word YA epic Fantasy ( at least i know the genre lol).

There is so much apart from 'word count' that i have to do in regards to this novel which i am really writing blind.
In the course of writing this novel/series/whatever i hope that the following will become clear (Don't laugh. . . . . . . only i can laugh. . . . and thats only cause i'm hysteric)

1. figure out a title (seems you need this thing if you want to be published - who knew *shrugs*)

2. figure out a plot (another thing you need)

a) Main plot which involves overall epic/journey 3 mythology of the universe sort of stuff like magical objects, motives, fate blah blah blah

b) character subplots - apart from the overall background universe fate plot mentioned above i also want to consider the motivations and subplots behind
each characters actions and not just the Pro and Antagonists.

c) political/cultural/geo subplots: Basically the motivations and political plots which
will also occur in this story.

3. Figure out characters: (crap i have soo much to do)

a) Names and stats of character/countries

b) motivations and how this plays into the plot

c) make them 3d and alive and NOT PROPS for the plot.

Ugh i'm sure i'm forgetting something - let me know if i am.

why do i feel this story is going to end up as a disaster?

*half laugh half sob*

See, at the moment i have a prologue which i'm grand with, and i know what is occuring in chapter 1.

after that its kind of up in the air. i have a vague filler chapter idea for chapter 2 but not really. . .

another reason why its a chapter a month is that I can't seem to outline this thing at all and have decided to just write and see where it takes me.

This can be scary when i get comments back on my prologue intriqued by questions evoked and plots hinted at....
I love my betas - they are amazing at what they do! I just have to make sure that i have the plot/themes/ questions running through the entire novel and that i keep things realistic and logical in my fantasy world.

Overall Plan of Action (very very loose)

31st Dec 2009: 1st draft of NoName Novel
  • Concentrate on Main plot
  • Edit each chapter when finished & send to betas
  • Re- edit
  • When complete read once through
  • reread and make notes
Date Unknown: 2nd draft of NoName Novel
  • Make sure Universe is real and logical
  • Reread again after edits
  • reread as whole
  • edit
  • Make sure subplots/main plot coherent etc - use editing list found on computer
Date Unknown: 3rd draft of NoName Novel
  • Make necessary changes
  • Give to Independent Reader
  • consider suggestions
  • edit
  • reread as whole
Date knowing me 2011 at this point: 4th draft/polish version of NoName Novel
  • Reread for final time - check editors list overall and line by line
  • draft and polish general query & synopsis
  • query L.Agents and adapt query letter.
Date Unknown: recieve rejections with a smile and a nod!!
  • Depending on number/type of rejections
  • number of paritals/fulls requested
  • edit.
Edit - write - edit - write - cry - cry some more - edit - write

Yup thats my schedule for 2009-11

what you think?

2009 . . . . .

2009 , i had such hopes for thee. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Anyhoo enough melodrama. i had a great NY eve with my friends and of course within 2 seconds of the ding dong dell of 2009, i was cursing like a sailor.

[Resolution to not curse]

*cough*

lets ignore that resolution, shall we? . . . . . . .

Today is the second day of 2009 and i'm 'trying' to do course work which is time consuming. . . .
i have exams in 20 days and they have us doing this course work - learning logs, CVs and portfolio stuff for a pass/fail module!!! ARGH!!!

I also have to have a methodology chapter all due for the 9th!!

I had a plan, the plan has failed - primarily due to to me being lazy this and 'last' year. i should have all the above stuff done but . i . do. not. DUH!!!

Ugh!!

Of course, i'm blogging now that i'm under pressure. See i do have a pattern of behaviour

panic mode = procrastination & denial = FAIL!!

Anyhoo, completely off topic from the above pending doom i was blog hopping and came across a lovely useful letter Moonrat wrote to an Over writer - (insert sarky voice here) which i thought my vast fan base may like

Overwriters Anon


I think i shall be keeping this one tucked away somewhere safe as i am guilty of getting carried away especially with dialogue tags and 'Brilliant Hues and Colour' language

anyhoo

Toodles for now

I'm off to post a bit more on my writing resolutions now - this post is too neg. . . . even for me. . .
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